Tunisian poll body to press for vote delay

2011-05-26 15:11

Tunis - The electoral panel tasked with organising the poll for Tunisia's constituent assembly plans on Thursday to meet with political parties to push for a delay in the vote, a source close to the panel said.

"It's a meeting behind closed doors to explain our position to them. We will present facts and technical details to arouse a debate," the source said, adding that "in the texts, the whole electoral process is in the hands of the High Independent Panel, including the election date".

The electoral commission on Sunday asked for the vote to be delayed from July until October 16 for planning and logistical reasons, but the transitional government on Tuesday announced that the poll will go ahead on July 24, stating that interim President Foued Mebazaa had signed a decree to this effect.

Most of the political parties welcomed the decision of the government, which also promised to provide the vote panel with "all material, human, administrative and technical means to enable the organisation of the elections at the planned date," in two months.

The meeting of the electoral commission with the political parties was announced late Wednesday by its chairperson, Kamel Jendoubi.

He explained that "the date of the organisation of the elections of the constituent assembly will be part of a timetable that will be presented on Thursday to the political parties," then the media.

Jendoubi, who had talks on Wednesday with Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi and the interim president, affirmed that the calendar to be proposed is "a roadmap which will open the way to a solution that may satisfy all the parties".